The Lakers applied for the loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the federal government’s $ 2.2 trillion stimulus package. The Lakers’ request was accepted in the first round of distribution, but after the fund ran out of money in less than two weeks, the team paid off their loan, as did several wealthier companies, including Shake Shack and AutoNation. .
The Lakers released a statement on Monday confirming what happened.
“The Lakers qualified and received a loan under the payroll protection program,” the statement said. “However, once we found out that the program funds had run out, we repaid the loan so that financial support was directed to those who needed it most. The Lakers remain totally committed to supporting both our employees and our community. “
ESPN first reported on the Lakers’ decision.
The Treasury Department released new guidelines for the loan program last week, asking companies not to apply for the funds if they don’t need the money to survive.
The Lakers qualified for the program because they only have about 300 employees. But the team is considered the second most important franchise in the NBA, with Forbes estimating a value of around $ 4 billion.
The 16-time NBA champions play in the nation’s second-largest media market, and their current roster, led by superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, topped the Western Conference when the NBA suspended play last month. .
The Lakers haven’t laid off or laid off any employees during the coronavirus pandemic, and the franchise does not provide for cuts. Senior staff on the team have agreed to defer 20 percent of their salaries until later this year or early next year.